|The Maori Party has slammed the Human Rights Commission’s report into Operation Eight as toothless, shameful and apologist.The commission was responding to 31 complaints about police actions during the October 2007 operation to arrest people on terrorism warrants arising from training camps in Te Urewera.
It concluded innocent people were exposed to unnecessary trauma and had their human rights negatively impacted.
The report was released last week, seven months after the Independent Police Conduct Authority report found that police acted unlawfully in establishing road blocks at Ruatoki and Taneatua and detaining and searching people during ‘Operation Eight’.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says the commission sidestepped important rights issues including institutional racism.
It also failed to outline steps to redress and right the human rights violations that occurred.
“My heart sank when I read the report. While it upheld the view that the human rights of the people of Ruatoki were trampled on, the analysis largely follows the IPCA report, the laws and policies of the police and does not at all reflect the experience, trauma and impact of the rights violations suffered by the children and adults of Ruatoki,” Mr Flavell says.
“People laid their complaints with the commission because they wanted justice and accountability for the trauma, terrorism and violations that took place. That was the whole point of the exercise, and the report failed to deliver on that.
“After five years of waiting, we get a report which glosses over issues such as institutional racism, such as how the police came to violate and terrorise an entire low socio-economic primarily Maori community; the violation of the rights of children, like when Police raided school buses, and homes where children were present; the human rights of indigenous people; the rights of collectives and more. It acknowledges that violations happened, but makes no further practical comment about how to move forward and how to remedy the situation.
“The report falls woefully short. It’s toothless, shameful, and apologist. It lacks any guts,” he says.
Mr Flavell called for a review into institutional racism in the justice sector, and into the Human Rights legislation and agencies.
Acknowledgements© 2013, UMA Broadcasting Ltd